February 9, 2019 8:43 pm

Extreme cold postpones Special Olympics ski race in Calgary

WATCH: Special Olympics Alberta decided to postpone Saturday's alpine events due to the extreme cold and wind chill warnings. Michael King reports.

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An extreme cold warning forced Special Olympics organizers to postpone alpine events that were scheduled for Saturday at WinSport in Calgary.

Jill Moore with Special Olympics Alberta said it was not an easy decision.

“With the low temperatures and wind chill, it’s not safe for our group to be out there,” said Moore.

Sixty-five skiers are still hoping to compete in slalom, giant slalom, and super-G events on Sunday. Moore said organizers will decide on Saturday night whether or not to hold the race Sunday.

READ MORE: Most of Alberta won’t break free from Mother Nature’s icy grip this weekend

However, the day wasn’t wasted for alpine athletes.

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Skiers and coaches filled the stands to cheer on their fellow athletes, taking in speed skating Saturday morning followed by figure skating in the afternoon.

Special Olympics ski racer Andreas Walther said he enjoyed the break from the cold.

“I like watching the sports inside rather than outside,” he said.

READ MORE: Killing 2 Olympic sports with 1 closure: Group petitions to save Calgary’s ski jumps

Others, like Sarah Blenkin, said she’d rather be out racing.

“I don’t mind watching [other athletes],” said Blenkin, “but I trained hard.”

Winsport also cancelled youth and preschool ski lessons on Saturday, and closed the tube park until Tuesday.

EMS urged anyone headed outside to cover all exposed skin and to pay special attention to eyes and ears. Even the lightest wind can cause frostbite in minutes, officials said.

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